Notifications
Sign Up Sign In
Q&A

Welcome to Codidact Meta!

Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

Why prefering Codidact to Stack Exchange?

+5
−7

As I explained in this post and some community staff confirmed, Codidact is almost a miniature of SE. In fact, I see no radical difference between them.

As we know, almost all (in my opinion, all without exception) people coming to Codidact are already familiar with SE. So, why should we expect that they prefer to contribute to this community, rather than SE? Only because of some meta issues?

I know that the main motivation for creating Codidact was some controversy about some meta issues. But, please note that many people, who are interested in contributing to a Q&A community, do not care meta subjects like "Code of Conduct", "Copyright Licenses", firing some community staff, ... .

Even, almost all Codidact community staff are still serious active SE users, and I think almost all user protestors against some SE policies will continue their contributions to SE even if they face more unpleasant policies. Why? Because the main important thing to almost all contributors is "asking and answering."

In my opinion, if we want alive communities, we need many people to contribute regularly, especially for some communities like a math community.


Updated

There are some some points in the answers, which need to be responded (Since a math community is about to launch, I use this community as an example to clarify what I mean):

  • I agree with the fact that Codidact is a non-profit, community focus, and open-source platform, which distinguishes Codidact from Stack Exchange. However, such characteristics cannot motivate enough people to contribute to such a community regularly. I, as a typical math enthusiast willing to contribute to a math Q&A community, prefer to spend my time and energy in a community in which I can be sure that there are enough math experts to communicate with them. Why has Math Stack Exchange become successful? Because at the time of its beginning many people needed a math Q&A community and there was no serious rival, so people had to join Math.SE and developed it. But, now there exists a terribly successful community, Math.SE, so that I think almost all career math experts (including teachers, students, and researchers) prefer to devote their little free time to contributing to a developed community, rather than an embryonic one; one can can only hope that a few idle math experts contribute occasionally to such a new community.

  • Some people believe that they can always have an alive small community and do not need to attract individual people. I think such a claim is not true for any Q&A community; it may be true for some people willing to discuss some topics with each other, but the story of a Q&A community is different. Mathematics has terribly many independent branches. So, if we want to have an active math community we need many people, and a small community is not enough for such a subject. The point is that when people see that their questions are not answered (properly), they become discouraged from asking in such a community.

  • I agree that many people opposing SE policies and rules; I personally have many problems with them. But, such people still continue their contributions because the most important factor of a successful Q&A community is its population, especially for some communities like a math community. People like good policies, rules, and norms, but their needs, namely asking and answering, are their priorities, which would not be satisfied in a small community.

  • I agree that casual users do not care meta issues. But, the point is that active meta users will come from such casual users; if not enough casual users are not interested in continuing their contributions to a community, we cannot have enough active meta users to develop the community. Each community needs first to attract casual users and then expects to be developed by serious users.

Why should this post be closed?

3 comments

Just last night I talked with somebody who found us but doesn't use SE, and I've seen some others. As we increase activity and visibility I would expect to see more of that. We don't have the Google rank and resulting visibility that they have, so we need to find other ways to (responsibly) get the word out. ‭Monica Cellio‭ 21 days ago

SE might at any point decide that the main purpose of the math sites is from now on to help kids with their elementary school homework problems and blatantly ignore all veteran users who disapprove. They have already done this on SO, over and over. It didn't happen overnight, it's a death of thousand cuts, but the main purpose of SO nowadays is to get massive traffic to generate ad revenues. Everything but that is secondary to the owners and management. ‭Lundin‭ 16 days ago

Other communities might face the same fate or alternatively get shut down for being too low traffic. From what I understand, they already pretty much shut down Area 51 this winter by firing the CM who was the only one working with that site. I don't think they have any interest in creating new and therefore low traffic communities. ‭Lundin‭ 16 days ago

5 answers

+8
−0

There are several differences in the philosophy of Codidact vs. Stack Exchange that may contribute to people preferring CD over SE.

For-profit vs non-profit

Stack Exchange is a for-profit company. With that in mind, they have to worry about making a profit and monetizing their products; there's always that driving factor of the money driving what they do.

Codidact, on the other, is a non-profit venture, funded by donations and out of pocket expenses by the creators. (There's currently no actual organization that can accept donations, but we're working on setting up a non-profit or something similar.)

Community focus vs knowledge base

Stack's stated goal is to be a repository of information, which leads to strict policies reducing clutter.

Codidact's ultimate goal is to serve the communities it hosts. This means that each community can set its own goals and visions, including how strict they want to be with comments etc. Being a repository of information is a secondary goal.

Open-source vs closed-source

Codidact is entirely open-source; this means that anyone can access the codebase and use it, for free, allowing anyone to set up their own Q&A instance however they want. Stack, on the other hand, is closed-source (excluding the data explorer), and people have to pay to set up a Q&A instance.


Ultimately, most of the differences between Codidact and Stack come from Codidact explicitly focusing on serving the community's needs. This is where features such as Categories come from, and the upcoming Abilities change; both serve to address longstanding problems that arose with the Stack software. We can also include community-specific features for communities that need them, a la the Sefaria linker at Judaism Codidact.

There's the Codidact Arbitration & Review Panel, which will act as a supervisor and make sure that both moderators and staff members have a proper way to deal with conflicts that arise between them.

Yes, Stack is a much more advanced project, with over ten years in the game vs Codidact's year or so in development, and it shows. But I believe that Codidact has the ability to set itself apart as a viable alternative to Stack, and serve alongside Stack to meet the needs of various communities.
Some communities will prefer Codidact, others Stack, some neither; and that's fine. Different communities have different needs.

2 comments

Yes. Communities first is a key difference, and many other things follow from that. ‭Monica Cellio‭ 21 days ago

Thanks for your answer. I have updated my post. Can you please update your answer to cover my updated points? ‭MathPhysics‭ 20 days ago

+6
−0

As I explained in this post and some community staff confirmed, Codidact is almost a miniature of SE. In fact, I see no radical difference between them.

Codidact is being used since not long, that explains the similarities. Even so, there are huge differences below the sea level:

  • Codidact is open source, which means you can fix bugs, adapt to your needs as long as complying AGPLv3, you can publish your own instance.

  • SE is an aged and dying platform, technologically speaking.

As we know, almost all (in my opinion, all without exception) people coming to Codidact are already familiar with SE. So, why should we expect that they prefer to contribute to this community, rather than SE? Only because of some meta issues?

They don't have to. Codidact is for communities, not for individual people.

I know that the main motivation for creating Codidact was some controversy about some meta issues. But, please note that many people, who are interested in contributing to a Q&A community, do not care meta subjects like "Code of Conduct", "Copyright Licenses", firing some community staff, ... .

Well, that's their motivation. Others are here only because open source.

Even, almost all Codidact community staff are still serious active SE users, and I think almost all user protestors against some SE policies will continue their contributions to SE even if they face more unpleasant policies. Why? Because the main important thing to almost all contributors is "asking and answering."

So what's the question?

In my opinion, if we want alive communities, we need many people to contribute regularly, especially for some communities like a math community.

Communities can be small and alive. I don't understand.

2 comments

Thanks for your answer. I have updated my post. Can you please update your answer to cover my updated points? ‭MathPhysics‭ 20 days ago

Those new four are either seemingly right to me, or about communities unknown to me, or maybe apparently wrong to me but if so having nothing to use as a counter. ‭8063‭ 19 days ago

+6
−0

please note that many people, who are interested in contributing to a Q&A community, do not care meta subjects like "Code of Conduct", "Copyright Licenses", firing some community staff

The casual user of any system generally doesn't care about this type of stuff. The active, involved, users - a small percentage on almost any public system - do care. They care because it affects them directly in some cases, or because they are concerned about the goals, morals or other aspects of a system where they spend a lot of their time & energy.

It is, in some ways, similar to politics (in a nominally democratic nation, not the same in a totalitarian regime - but consider US, Canaa, Australia, most of Europe, etc.):

  • A very small group really do things (career politicians, the Codidact developers)
  • A larger group, but still a minority, put a lot of time & energy into the system (politically active, "Meta" users)
  • The vast majority have their opinions but relatively little real action (voters, regular users)

We don't expect 100% of Codidact users to become developers or even significant Meta users. But we want to provide an environment where everyone who wants to participate in a productive way (from asking & answering on up to helping develop and run the system) can do so. For the casual user, Code of Conduct and similar issues will have zero effect on them - they just need a system where they can find answers to their questions. For the more active users, these things matter.

1 comment

Thanks for your answer. I have updated my post. Can you please update your answer to cover my updated points? ‭MathPhysics‭ 20 days ago

+5
−0

Since this is obviously open to individual answer, I will answer my reason. The structure of SE leads to it being much more toxic for causal use. There is a reason people always joke about their SE questioning being closed as a repeat of a question that doesn't even answer their question. The points on the site give powerusers a physical authority over those who do not poweruse.

That is to the say to the casual user asking a "good" question is very daunting, often because of arbitrary requirements in a community resistant to change. That is not to say there are not bad questions, there definitely are, but the definition is less rigid than the censors would lead you to believe.

2 comments

Thanks for your answer. I have updated my post. Can you please update your answer to cover my updated points? ‭MathPhysics‭ 20 days ago

There is nothing updated to cover in my reply. ‭Aidan‭ 20 days ago

+1
−0

I appreciate your passion! It resonates very strongly with me, as someone who wears his heart on his sleeve. One thing I'll say though is many of your points seem to be based on assumptions, anecdotes, and wishes, but not real evidence.

None of us can see the future. It's impossible to say whether Math.CD will be more or less successful than Math.SE, because as you pointed out, Math.SE has been the only site large enough to encompass the broader maths community. If Math.CD users evangelize the service, however, there's no telling what the effect on Math.SE might be. The point applies to other communities on CD too.

Is it a little bit of Field of Dreams, i.e. "If you build it, they will come"? Sure, but all startup projects are founded on hope. The key is, "build" doesn't just mean "create the software in a vacuum and release it into the ether"; it also includes "be active participants, stewards, and evangelists of the software we're building and the communities that use it," as evidenced by the broad meta community and even this question right here.

0 comments

Sign up to answer this question »